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Ivory Coast builds a wall to protect Banco National Park

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There have been recent actions from various African countries to preserve their wildlife. The latest is Ivory Coast, erecting a concrete perimeter wall that it hopes will preserve its distinctive ecosystem.

The West African country is concerned about illegal logging and pollution in Banco National Park in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan.

Banco National Park conserves both flora and fauna in some 116 square miles (300 square km). Tropical hardwood trees occupy most of the park; an arboretum displays trees (especially teak) and shrubs from all over the country. African civet, genet, bushbuck, duiker, and monkey roam the park. The park serves primarily as a recreational centre for the inhabitants of Abidjan.

The director-general of the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves, Adama Tondossama, said “in reality, it’s 12 km of fencing for a perimeter of 24 km because a lot of the boundary has already been whittled away here and there to build urban lots.”

Tondossama said he hoped the efforts to protect Banco would help it win a place on U.N. agency UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

“We must not lose the forest,” said Mesmin Yapo, the deputy chief of a village on the park’s outskirts. “We are in some ways the guardians here.”

There is growing concerns about wildlife in Africa lately, news broke on Sunday that another African country, Gabon in response to cases of increased poaching activity in some of its parts has launched an operation in search of weapons belonging to potential poachers.

Zimbabwe on its part is lobbying the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to allow it sell its stockpile of seized elephant ivory.

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Ex-Mozambique President’s son bags 12 years imprisonment for $2 billion fraud

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The son of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, Armando Ndambi Guebuza, has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on Wednesday for his role in a $2 billion ‘hidden debt’ corruption and fraud incident that allegedly crashed the country’s economy.

Ndambi Guebuza, was found guilty of the crime alongside 10 other accused on charges related to money laundering, bribery and blackmail, while eight were acquitted by the court.

Other accomplices in the fraud including two top intelligence officials were handed sentences of between 10 and 12 years.

Maputo City Court Judge, Judtice Efigenio Baptista, who delivered the judgement, said the ex-President’s son was not “remorseful in committing the crime which saw hundreds of millions of dollars in government-supported loans vanish.”

“Armando Ndambi Guebuza showed no remorse for committing the crime and he maintains that he has been targeted for political reasons,” Judge Baptista said.

“Ndambi still does not reckon that he wrongfully benefited from $33 million that the Mozambican people badly need,” he added.

The two former top intelligence officials, General Director Gregorio Leao and Head of the Economic Unit, Antonio Carlos do Rosario, were each sentenced to 12 years in prison, with Justice Baptista saying they, by their actions, helped impoverish Mozambique’s people.

“The defendants tarnished the good image of the country abroad and in the international markets, with enduring and hard-to-repair effects,” Baptista said.

The fraud which was committed in 2016, saw Mozambique unable to meet up its repayment plans to donors like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the scandal stimulating the IMF and other donors to reduce support, causing a currency collapse and debt default.

An independent audit discovered in 2017 that the government had failed to explain how funds were expended and that approximately a quarter of the money was unaccounted for, with much of the money raised for a fishing project diverted through kickbacks to bankers and Mozambique officials.

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Rwanda accuses US of inflaming crisis in eastern DRC

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The government of Rwanda on Tuesday, accused the United States as well as the international community of ‘exacerbating and inflaming’ the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The accusation was made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry after the US urged Kigali to stop any support for the M23 rebels who have a base in a Rwandan territory.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had in a telephone call on Sunday to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said “it was clear that all external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must end, including Rwanda’s support for M23.”

But in a press release published on Tuesday, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta, affirmed that Paul Kagame and Anthony Blinken “had had good exchanges but that differences remain on the understanding of the problem.”

“The erroneous approach of the United States and the international community continues to exacerbate the problem in the east DRC.

“Rwanda’s security problems must be taken into account… M23 should not be equated with Rwanda,” Biruta said.

The crisis in eastern DRC between government forces and the M23 rebels which is made up of mainly Tutsi ethnic group, a predominant tribe in Rwanda, has continued to heighten tensions between the two neighbours with the DRC accusing Rwanda of supporting and encouraging the militia, accusations Kigali has always denies.

Rwanda on its part, has often blamed the crisis in eastern DRC on authorities in Kinshasa and accused the international community of turning a blind eye to DRC’s support for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group made of Rwandan Hutus who were involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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